U.S. Decision to Defund UNRWA Aimed at Refocusing Attention on Ways to End the Conflict

(Daily Signal) Brett Schaefer and James Phillips - UNRWA has existed for more than 60 years as a "temporary" initiative to address the needs of Palestinian refugees from the 1948 Israeli-Arab conflict and to facilitate their resettlement and/or repatriation. The U.S. has provided UNRWA with more than $6 billion since 1950. Unfortunately, that support did not bring the situation any closer to resolution. On the contrary, it absolved Palestinian leaders of the responsibility to provide health care, education, and other basic services that sovereign governments - which the Palestinians claim to be - are expected to provide for their own people. Contrary to the claims of the Palestinians, the U.S. is not "violating international law" by ending funding for UNRWA. U.S. funding is voluntary, not a legal entitlement, and America reasonably expects that its support not be misused and that the Palestinians earnestly engage in the peace process. Instead, Palestinian leaders have rejected increasingly generous offers since the 1990s. This intransigence, encouraged by Iran and rejectionist Arab leaders, lies at the root of the Palestinian refugee problem and harms the Palestinian people. Although it will likely cause short-term ramifications, the decision to defund this agency will, hopefully, refocus attention on what is necessary to end this protracted dispute. The writers are fellows at The Heritage Foundation.

2018-09-12 00:00:00

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